The scene is set. On the eve of one of the film calendar’s biggest announcements, four lovers of the movies try to predict who may or may not be invited to the party as the Oscar nominations are almost upon us. The players are Robin Write, Al Robinson, Asif Khan, and later joined by Steve Schweighofer.
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Robin, Al, and Asif enter.
Robin: Okay let’s just see how this goes. Thought we could do a quick run down of the Oscar nominees that might get booted or might sneak in. For starters then, before we discuss the Vikander / Mara category thing, I want to talk Best Actor.
Al: We’ve got Fassbender, DiCaprio for sure,
Robin: Right. Sneakers – I think Depp can still get in. And I think Redmayne could disappear.
Asif: Redmayne should disappear.
Al: I think Depp probably, but I don’t think they like the film, so it makes me wonder.
Robin: Also think Damon might not make it.
Al: Okay, I think Damon is in.
Robin: Any other spoilers Best Actor? Caine?
Al: What about Tom Hanks for Bridge of Spies?
Robin: No. If they can’t nominate him for Captain Phillips.
Asif: Spoiler would be Carell.
Robin: Right, Carell.
Al: Good point on Hanks. Carell I liked. More than anyone else in the film.
Asif: Paul Dano in lead. Fantasy.
Al: Haven’t seen Concussion, but what about Will Smith?
Robin: Don’t forget Will Smith too, seriously. Great minds!
Robin: Chances of Cranston not getting in?
Robin: I don’t think Carell gets in. I have doubts over Damon and Redmayne, but both are likely.
Al: I just wonder about Michael B Jordan for Creed.
Robin: Depp is the big fifth slot spoiler.
Asif: Agree on Depp. He might.
Robin: Imagine a Beast of the Southern Wild style late surge with Coogler and Jordan.
Asif: Jordan for Creed seems unlikely. Unless there is lots of love for it.
Al: They like Sly for sure.
Robin: Shall we look at Supporting Actor possible spoilers?
Asif: So many there.
Robin: I honestly think Rylance is the only sure-fire.
Asif: Sylvester Stallone.
Al: I think Rylance and Sly.
Robin: Keaton and Ruffalo might be done for.
Al: I want to see Del Toro for Sicario. And Ruffalo for Spotlight.
Asif: Idris Elba, Mark Ruffalo, Christian Bale.
Robin: Yes. Sicario has momentum.
Al: I think Sicario will spoil the party big time.
Asif: Don’t count on the Sicario surge.
Al: And Straight Outta Compton. Brian Perry sure loves Jason Mitchell.
Robin: My two big spoilers are Tremblay for Room, and Hardy for The Revenant.
Al: Loved Hardy in The Revenant. What about Walton Goggins in this race?
Asif: By the way, how many Best Picture nominations?
Al: Seven to nine.
Asif: Yes Hardy can. Definitely Tremblay.
Al: Tremblay is that good?
Al: So, is he in?
Asif: Lead though, but well.
Robin: If I voted right now or ten months ago, Oscar Isaac would get in for Ex Machina.
What are the chances?
Al: Probably nil for Isaac. He’s great of course. I think some would prefer him from Star Wars
Robin: Absolutely not. Ex Machina has real buzz, and so does he. I don’t think he will be nominated, but on my wishlist.
Al: He’s getting more and more coverage.
Robin: See any shocks here? Like Rylance missing out?
Al: My five are Rylance, Ruffalo, Bale, Stallone, and Elba. No way Rylance misses.
Asif: Can I be excused?
Robin: Okay let’s quickly look at Actresses.
Al: So, I think Lead Actress is solid. Larson, Lawrence, Ronan, Rampling, and Blanchett.
Spoiler could be Mara. Not sure if she’s lead or supporting.
Robin: Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander in Support?
Al: At this point. But is Vikander lead in The Danish Girl? Definitely Support for Ex Machina.
Robin: I am standing my ground with this, Mara and Vikander in Lead. Massive possible spoiler, Blanchett is snubbed.
Al: I’m good with that. She’s got enough Oscars for now anyway.
Robin: It would be considered a huge snub.
Al: I agree. But we need new blood. Of course, Lawrence isn’t new anymore either.
Robin: She could get in. As could Lily Tomlin. Huge brilliant sneak in would be Charlize Theron – this would cement MM as the BP favorite.
Al: Theron would be a dream.
Robin: If Mara and Vikander make Lead, who do we have in Support that can surprise.
Al: Okay, maybe just Kristen Stewart for Clouds of Sils Maria.
Asif: Mara lead ain’t happening. Vikander might for The Danish Girl. But I am not counting on it. I have her in Supporting for that film. Not Ex Machina.
Al: I would bug if Vikander doesn’t get one for Ex Machina. Do we expect any surprises for Director, or did DGA spoil it?
Asif: Haynes please.
Al: I agree.
Asif: But no, five for five.
Robin: There might be a couple of changes.
Al: Haynes is only spoiler.
Robin: Miller HAS to get in.
Al: I think so too.
Al: I don’t think McKay is worthy. I’d prefer Coogler or Villeneuve.
Asif: Wouldn’t be awesome if Carol and Fury Road get the most nominations?
Robin: Fukunaga is my HUGE spoiler, with Beasts of No Nation getting Best Picture nod. Out there, but still…
Al: I’d think F. Gary Gray before Fukunaga. Straight Outta Comptom got WGA, SAG, and PGA noms.
Al: So, how about Best Picture?
Robin: Forget predictions. Who sneaks in? Who is snubbed?
Al: Sicario might be snubbed.
Robin: Beasts of No Nation.
Robin: Sicario wouldn’t be a snub as it is not really projected to get in.
Al: I think Brooklyn might get a nomination as well.
Robin: Yes, Brooklyn would be a huge miss. But I think it is in.
Robin: The director might sneak in. Carol is the big one here.
Al: Just didn’t see much pre-love for Brooklyn like I did Sicario and Compton.
Robin: Brooklyn has been there the whole time, went quiet for a bit, but has been very very strong in the last 6 weeks.
Al: I think Bridge of Spies might be the eighth slot for Best Picture.
Asif: They love it.
Robin: You watch, there’ll be 5 nominees.
Al: This year wouldn’t surprise me if so…
Robin: Most nominations?
Asif: Fury Road and The Revenant.
Al: The Revenant and The Martian. Maybe Fury Road.
Steve: Hey! When did you start?
Asif: I have blogging to do. Bye.
Al: I can stay. I don’t mind.
Steve: So where do we stand – any earth shattering revelations?
Al: Not really. Robin has been asking about what spoilers we think could happen.
Steve: For nominations? It’s not a spoiler, but there will be no films nominated with a female-centred lead. Maybe Mad Max, but even that might be in trouble. Miller will make it but not the film I’m afraid.
Al: Not even Carol?
Steve: Nope – I bet it doesn’t. And I doubt, given the reputation, that we’ll see Straight Outta Compton, or Beasts of No Nation making the cut.
Al: I think only five are a sure thing. Spotlight, The Big Short, Mad Max, The Martian, and The Revenant.
Steve: No Carol – Far From Heaven was wiped out after its critics sweep, Carol will suffer the same fate.
Robin: Looks like that to me.
Steve: So you’re five look about right – if Mad Max squeezes in.
Robin: It will come down to the amount of BP nominees as to whether Brooklyn makes it female-lead wise. IF they nominate 5 BPs, which can happen, Mad Max might also miss out.
Al: I’m still holding out hope Sicario gets in. But I’m not holding my breath. Mad Max would be the biggest snub of all.
Steve: Yup – the math for the voting doesn’t bode well for a solid year like this. The more that are worthy, te more each needs to make it in. With the votes scattered, you end up with a shorter list.
Al: Wait a sec Steve. Isn’t Mad Max a female led film?
eve: Yes, Al. It’s also a genre that the fogies don’t like outside of the techies.
Al: Ahh. I’m afraid you might be right. Dang.
Steve: I’m totally expecting most of my own faves to miss the cut in favor of the more solid leaders. Hoping I’m wrong.
Al: Steve, are you gonna post a top 10 anywhere?
Steve: I did a top 16 (don’t believe in top 10s) on letterboxd,
Al: Damn. I think I missed it. I’m gonna go find it.
Al: I think Leo and Sly for sure, and I think they deserve them. Do you guys feel that way?
Steve: Didn’t see Creed. Not a Rocky fan, but love Coogler, so I may give it a shot later.
Robin: Leo yes, Yawn. Supporting Actor is still up for grabs. Don’t let the Golden Globes fool you. There’s a chance Stallone won’t be nominated remember.
Steve: Never let the Globes fool you. Pia Zadora anyone.
Al: Sorry guys. I’m gonna bow out. I’ll be online some tonight.
Robin: No worries.
Steve: It was the response to Stallone’s win that sealed it for me.
Robin: Have fun Al.
Al: Cool. Later guys.
Steve: So, yeh, that’s about it. I don’t expect much tomorrow morning. If Ex Machina, Sicario, or Beasts make the finals, you’ll probably hear me across the pond.
Robin: Right me too. Oscar Isaac would be a nice surprise.
Steve: That would bring a cheer, as would Fukunaga or Stewart. Hardy deserves a nod as well.
Robin: Hardy might get in for The Revenant.
Steve: All the great performances he’ s given and he ends up a coattails nomination. Oh well. In Isaac’s case, people are just noticing him and going back to see his earlier stuff.
Robin: Yeah. Hardy is great in The Revenant though.
Steve: Brie is a sure thing (I hope) – nobody’s gonna come close, I don’t think. That will be it for Room.
Robin: But yeah, bit late to the party Academy. I think Saoirse has a shot too.
Steve: Hardy is always great – the “new” Brando. Loved her since Atonement. Yeah – she’s getting a nomination.
Robin: My biggest prediction is that the nominations will make the internet explode.
Steve: That’s a given. Especially if KStew makes it in, or even if she doesn’t.
Robin: Right. Will she make it?
Steve: I hope so – you never know. There’s always one or two shots from the dark (Marcia Gay Hardin, e.g.). Maybe she’ll be one. Clouds deserves recognition and Binoche is out of it because nobody in AMPAS saw the thing.
Robin: Why do we pay them so much attention eh.
Steve: That’s what I say every year. I’ve only had one fave of the year actually win Best Picture – Annie Hall.
Steve: Its a good way to close one year off and start the next, I guess. And like the lottery, there is a remote chance someone worthy will win.
Robin: Right. So the big question: What will happen with Carol? is Blanchett even getting in?
Steve: Todd Haynes has a better chance at winning Powerball – its a crime. Blanchett will get in, but the guilds have been positively shitty to the film. It deserves to be in nearly every category as it was top five in every category this year.
Robin: It was. Such a shame. The Revenant’s becoming the front-runner. Ah well.
Steve: I hated Birdman – to the point of foaming at the mouth. I loved The Revenant, probably for the same reason others are hating it. I don’t need dialogue and enjoy when the story happens and is not told, if that makes sense. More meditative. Plus, the surrounding are familiar, so the atmosphere was bang-on. Guess it’s the Tree of Life Syndrome – another fave.
Robin: I don’t hate The Revenant, but the build up did not match what I experienced. It’s better than The Hateful Eight.
Steve: The build up was typical Hollywood adventure story advertising. That got them in the seats opening weekend. That’s what I was expecting. Its’ more of a visceral experience. I wrote off Quentin Tarantino after Django Unchained – insulting movie, that.
Robin: I have to dash, but we ought to make time for discussions and writing more.
Steve: I’ll see what I can come up with. Have to get ready for work. Take care – talk soon.
Robin: You too.
Steve exits, Robin exits.
The stage is empty once more.